The UK’s BAE Systems has scrapped the RJX regional jet program and will shut down all future RJ production after it finishes four airplanes currently in production. BAE said the company had orders for only 14 RJXs and that an already poor market exacerbated by the events of September 11 would mean losing money on every RJ sold. The company emphasized it will continue to provide support for all customer BAE RJs.
After several years of 25-percent compound growth, UK regional British European Airlines is adopting a more measured approach to provide less unpredictable development after posting losses last year. Moves in late June to meet shareholders’ revised aims included the voluntary departure of chief executive Barry Perrott and the decision to release the Canadair RJ fleet.
“Wake up, smell the coffee: the Avro Business Jet (ABJ) has arrived!” is the message from BAe Systems Regional Aircraft and two new partners announced here yesterday. As reported in Tuesday’s EBACE Convention News, the UK manufacturer has teamed with maintenance and cabin-interiors specialists to provide a one-stop shop for prospective customers looking for a large-capacity corporate jet.
This morning, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft (Booth No. 2055) plans to reveal teaming arrangements with a completion center and a design house for the Avro Business Jet (ABJ), a corporate version of its BAe 146/Avro RJ regional-quadjet, for which it claims “all-time high” market interest. “Sales of the aircraft have taken off in the past twelve months,” said sales executive Andy Whelan.
One of six Airbus-approved outfitters for its ACJ corporate jetliner family, Stork Fokker Services (Booth No. 875) is expanding its activities in the VIP/corporate completion market alongside competitors such as Jet Aviation, Lufthansa Technik and TAT’s Sabena Technics.
Merger talks between Virgin Express and SN Brussels Airlines–the renamed regional successor of bankrupt Sabena Airlines–came to a crashing halt in late February when Virgin chairman Richard Branson and investors in the Belgian regional failed to agree on a price and the would-be company’s management structure.
Rekkof Aircraft, the Dutch company trying to bring Fokker F70 and F100 twinjets back into production, has said the uncertain status of the Fairchild Dornier regional jets and the demise of BAE Systems’ Avro RJX program have boosted its prospects. The firm has now joined Embraer and Bombardier in the race to win an order for up to 60 regional jets from German regional operator Lufthansa CityLine.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has completed four months of test flights in its new Avro RJX85, leaving officials “very confident” of meeting, if not exceeding, the 15- to 20-percent-enhanced fuel burn and other performance-improvement targets set for the 80- to 112-seat quad-jet.
During the ERA assembly held last month in Salzburg, Austria, Rockwell Collins announced FAA certification of its HGS 4200 head-up guidance system (HGS) for use on Bombardier’s CRJ700 and of the HGS 4100 for the Canadian airframer’s Dash 8Q-400. U.S. West Coast operator Horizon Air supported both certification programs. German CRJ700 operator Lufthansa CityLine and French regional Brit Air also chose the HGS 4200.
Lufthansa CityLine is looking at the Bombardier and Embraer regional jet families as alternatives to the firm order for sixty 728JETs that it had placed with airframer Fairchild Dornier. During the ERA assembly, the German regional’s managing director, Karl-Heinz Kopfle, said Bombardier’s CRJ700 and -900s are under consideration, as is the Embraer 170.